Entertainment & Arts

'Lost' Dylan Thomas poem gets first performance in 70 years

Dylan Thomas
Image caption Dylan Thomas found increased fame through his recordings for the BBC during the late 1940s

A work by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas will be heard for the first time in more than 70 years at an event this week.

Actor Celyn Jones, who played Thomas in the film Set Fire To Our Stars, will read the poem after a university professor found it by chance.

A Dream of Winter was forgotten after it was published by a magazine in 1942, before Thomas found fame.

Dylan, who died in 1953, became one of Britain's most-loved writers with works such as Under Milk Wood.

Welsh actor Jones said the discovery of A Dream Of Winter was "incredible".

"When I got the call asking if I would do the honour and read it aloud, there was no way I could say no," he said.

"It's the literary equivalent of a lost Beatles track. It's a beautiful poem and is full of the classic Dylan traits."

Ripped page

The reading of the poem will take place in London on Friday at an exclusive event with an invited audience.

A painting, inspired by the poem, by artist Dan Llywelyn Hall - known for his 2013 portrait of the Queen - will also be unveiled.

The poem features eight verses of three lines and focuses on imagery of a birdless wood, snow and "singing statures".

It was published in the British periodical Lilliput, which went out of print just before WW2.

The magazine's archive was later acquired by the late porn baron Paul Raymond, who had no idea about the Thomas poem.

The poem was discovered when, last year, Swansea University Professor John Goodby was contacted by a teacher at his old school.

Allan Wilcox had found the poem on a ripped magazine page amongst the pages of a book on Dylan belonging to the professor's recently deceased English teacher.

The book was a Dylan Thomas collection, compiled by Professor Goodby and dedicated to his late teacher.

The professor said he didn't know anything about the poem and clipping.

"I had never come across the poem before - though there were fleeting references to it in some of Dylan's letters," he said.

"When I finally saw it I couldn't believe it."

Professor Goodby traced the clipping back to Lilliput before finding an untouched copy of the magazine.

"It is completely fortunate the way this poem was found again," he said.

"It is amazing it went undiscovered for so long, but at the time it was published the poem would not been as significant as it is now."

Swansea-born Thomas's other famous works include the poems Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and And Death Shall Have No Dominion.

Although achieving a level of fame early in his career, it was through radio recordings, most notably for the BBC during the late 1940s, that brought him to the public's attention.

He went to the US in the 1950s, where his fame was growing, but the poet, known also for his erratic behaviour and drinking, died prematurely in New York at the age of 39.

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